Proxy Advisory Firms: Melissa Sawyer Speaks at IBA 6th Annual Corporate Governance Conference

December 5-6, 2019
Frankfurt, Germany

Melissa Sawyer, co-head of S&C’s Corporate Governance & Activism Practice, spoke at the International Bar Association’s 6th Annual Corporate Governance Conference on December 5-6 in Frankfurt, Germany. Melissa spoke on a panel relating to proxy advisory firms, their role in public companies and their influence on companies’ boards. The first portion of the panel discussion focused on the role of proxy advisors (including their effect on capital markets and good corporate governance) and potential aspects of shareholder activism. The second part of the session covered applicable regulations for proxy advisors, dealing with proxy advisors in practice and the influence of proxy advisors on director independence and matters of say on pay.

S&C’s Corporate Governance Practice

Sullivan & Cromwell has a deep understanding of corporate governance requirements, practices and trends. The Firm’s Corporate Governance Group counsels boards and companies on all facets of corporate governance, both within and outside the context of a particular activist campaign. S&C presented its 2019 Proxy Season Lessons in September. You can view the webinar and download the S&C memo here.
S&C’s annual review of U.S. Shareholder Activism will be released in November. Our Review and Analysis of 2018 U.S. Shareholder Activism can be found here.

Melissa Sawyer

Melissa Sawyer is co-head of the Firm’s Corporate Governance & Activism Practice. She advises clients on corporate governance, activism and takeover defense matters. Her experience advising companies spans the full range of governance topics, including:
  • board structure
  • board evaluations
  • crisis management
  • director tenure and diversity
  • directors’ fiduciary duties
  • disclosure
  • ESG
  • insider trading and other compliance matters
  • investor engagement
  • #MeToo situations
  • responding to activists and short-sellers
  • shareholder proposals
  • succession planning
Melissa was named to The Deal’s “Women in M&A: The Powerhouse 20” for shaping the industry with her novel approach to transactions and has been recognized as a Law360 MVP in Food & Beverage, one of Crain’s “Leading Women Lawyers in New York City” and was named “Dealmaker of the Week” by The American Lawyer. Additional accolades include receiving a Burton Award for Legal Achievement and being chosen as an Empire State Counsel Honoree by the New York State Bar Association.